Heat contain Ja Morant in win over Grizzlies
Jimmy Butler scored a game-high 27 points as the tired and short-handed Miami Heat still managed a 129-103 road win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night.
Grizzlies superstar point guard Ja Morant, who entered the game averaging an NBA-best 30.4 points to go with 7.8 assists while shooting 40.6 percent on 3-pointers, was held to 20 points and seven assists. He made just one of his four 3-pointers.
Butler made 8-of-12 shots from the floor and added seven assists, five rebounds and three steals. Miami also got 22 points off the bench from Tyler Herro and 15 points and a game-high eight assists from veteran point guard Kyle Lowry, who enjoyed his best game of the young season.
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Memphis, which had won its three most recent meetings with Miami, was unable to take advantage of a Heat team that played without center Bam Adebayo, who sat out due to a bruised left knee. The Heat also played in Miami on Friday while the Grizzlies spent that night resting.
Adebayo, a 2020 All-Star who became an Olympic gold medalist this year, is averaging 20.6 points and 14.0 rebounds.
The Heat also suffered an injury to reserve guard Max Strus in the fourth quarter. Strus, who hurt his left leg, scored 12 points in 17 minutes.
Miami, which never trailed, had a brilliant first quarter, shooting 70.6 percent from the floor — including 7-of-10 on 3-pointers — while grabbing a 38-22 lead.
Memphis cut its halftime deficit to 67-54. Still, for the first half, Miami had a six-rebound advantage while shooting 57.9 percent from the floor and 11-of-15 on 3-pointers. Butler led all first-half scorers with 23 points.
The Heat stretched their lead to 102-79 at the end of three quarters.
In the fourth, Memphis got as close as 105-89, but that was it, and the Heat cruised from there.
For the game, Miami shot 52.3 percent, including 21-of-37 on 3-pointers. Memphis shot 38.6 percent, including 16-for-50 on 3-pointers.